8 Ways to Use Nutritional Yeast

Email Print Share

Whether you're a vegan or a natural food junkie, you're likely familiar with the stigmas that come from eating certain foods. Anyone that's ever tried to get a family member to do a wheatgrass shot, eat a bowl of wheat germ, or down a spoonful of spirulina knows what I'm talking about. And there's another undeserving victim of the health food stereotyping: nutritional yeast.

Admittedly, nutritional yeast is a pretty unappetizing name, despite the fact it boasts its nutritional benefits right there front and center. But like Shakespeare said, what's in a name, anyway?

A deactivated type of yeast, nutritional yeast is an excellent source of B vitamins, proteins, all nine amino acids, selenium, and potassium. In its raw form, nutritional yeast is a golden flaky powder. It is incredibly versatile and is often considered a staple in vegan and vegetarian cooking. Want to give it a try? Here are some suggestions from a die-hard nut-yeast junkie:

  1. Soups: This is a great way to start. Add a couple of spoonfuls into your soup recipes for a creamy flavor and texture.
  2. Seitan recipe: If you've been making your own wheat meat—a.k.a. seitan—you know how much better it is than the store-bought stuff. Add a few tablespoons of nutritional yeast to your homemade seitan for extra protein and extra flavor.
  3. Pizza: Those processed faux cheeses rarely ever truly melt anyway. Give them the boot and layer up your pie with nutritional yeast once it's out of the oven. The heat will slightly melt the cheese and the flavor can't be beat.
  4. Popcorn: One of the best popcorn toppings ever. Just sprinkle it on and enjoy. Goes great with spices, too. Try paprika, garlic salt, hot pepper flakes, and a good mineral salt.
  5. Gravy: Homemade vegan gravy gets a flavor boost with the addition of nutritional yeast. Its savory umami flavor is perfect in gravy recipes.
  6. The best mac 'n cheese ever: ¼ cup nutritional yeast, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and a bit of that hot water from cooking your noodles—added to your consistency preference. It's simply divine! Add in a bit of paprika and cayenne if you like a kick, otherwise, just some salt will do.
  7. Cheesy dip: Take that mac 'n cheese recipe and reduce the water content until it's as thick as you like. Add cumin and cayenne for a Mexican-inspired queso dip or spread.
  8. Tofu scramble: While I don't recommend eating too much soy—or ever eating non-organic soy products—every once in a while there's nothing like scrambled tofu for breakfast. Reminds me of my vegan line cook days at the East End Food Co-op in Pittsburgh. The tofu scramble was my absolute favorite. After sautéing your veggies (peppers, carrots, mushrooms recommended) and tofu in a bit of oil, add about ¼ cup of nutritional yeast flakes along with a teaspoon of turmeric for that gorgeous yellow color (and great flavor). Add additional seasoning like fresh marjoram or oregano leaves, cayenne, or crushed red chili flakes. Enjoy!
Learn more about Jill Ettinger

Claims on this site have not been evaluated by the FDA. Information on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Sunwarrior’s awesome expert writers do not replace doctors and don’t always cite studies, so do your research, as is wise. Seek the advice of a medical professional before making any changes to your lifestyle or diet.

Sunwarrior likes to share. Please feel free to repost articles as long as you always link back to the original and credit the author.


Want to add your voice?

  • I love it on popcorn ! I use it in any dish ( including pizza) that needs a cheesy flavor ....

  • I want to say that I was very happy to find all of these neat ideas for Nutritional Yeast. I made your Mac and cheese just how you wrote it and was sad when it didn't look creamy like yours but I tried it any way. It was the most disgusting thing I have eaten in a VERY long time! Maybe I read there is a trick but OMG, gross

    • I use this for a mac and cheese sause, and my kids love it too. It's the best I've found.


      I leave out the mustard because non of us seem to like it when I put it in. I think it's great! I also prefer it with a little salt.

      3/4 cup unsweetened, unflavoured almond milk (or more as needed to thin out)
      6 tbsp nutritional yeast (Bob’s Red Mill makes one in natural food section of most grocery stores or bulk food stores)
      1 tbsp Earth Balance or other non-dairy buttery spread
      1 tbsp all purpose flour (or other flour)
      2 tsp Dijon mustard
      1/4 tsp garlic powder
      1/4 tsp onion powder
      1/2 tsp kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste

      1. In a skillet or pot, melt the Earth Balance over medium heat.
      2. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour and milk until all clumps are gone.
      3. Add milk & flour mixture and nutritional yeast to pot and whisk well. Reduce heat to low-medium.
      4. Add Dijon, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper to taste and whisk frequently until the sauce thickens up, for about 5 minutes. If it’s still too thin you can add more flour to achieve the thickness you desire. To reheat: reheat in the microwave or on the stove-top (add a splash of milk if it’s too thick) and whisk well. Store in an air-tight container for up to 5-7 days.

      Read more: http://ohsheglows.com/2011/08/18/quick-dirty-5-ingredient-vegan-cheeze-sauce-recipe-challenge/#ixzz2tbhHdVu4

    • I found a recipe for "cheese" sauce using the yeast on the Vitamix website. They added pimento and almonds to make theirs. I haven't tried it yet but I will try it.

    • Hi Kinnie, thanks for your note here. I was all ready to try making the mac and cheese, now not so sure! I doubt you messed up the recipe, it's too easy.